Information

Scottish Vacant And Derelict Land Survey 2021

The Scottish Vacant and Derelict Land Survey (SVDLS) is a data collection undertaken to establish the extent and state of vacant and derelict land in Scotland.

This document is part of a collection


11. Derelict and Urban Vacant Land: Previous Uses and Other Characteristics

11.1 This section focuses on previous uses of derelict and urban vacant land before it fell out of use. Information is also provided on how long derelict and urban vacant land has lain out of use and how developable that land is.

11.2 In general former agricultural land is only included if it is characterised by specific unsightliness or neglect. However, in some instances former agricultural land is released for development and is then classed as vacant if either the land is prepared for development or development has started on the land.

Table 13 - Previous uses of Derelict and Urban Vacant Land, 2021 [Note 20] [Note 24]
Derelict Land Urban Vacant Land Total
Previous Use Area Percentage of Derelict Land by Area Sites Area Percentage of Urban Vacant Land by Area Sites Area Percentage of Total Vacant and Derelict Land by area Sites
Agriculture 188 3 119 204 12 113 392 4 232
Business Class 4 * 7 9 1 7 13 * 14
Community & Health 575 8 126 87 5 62 662 7 188
Defence 1,057 14 48 92 5 25 1,149 13 73
Education 117 2 84 183 11 121 300 3 205
Forestry/Woodland 14 * 10 14 1 5 28 * 15
Manufacturing 1,724 24 272 262 16 115 1,987 22 387
Mineral Activity 2,094 29 212 26 2 17 2,120 24 229
Nature Conservation 8 * 1 - - - 8 * 1
Offices 5 * 14 19 1 24 25 * 38
Other General Industry Excluding Manufacturing 475 6 135 121 7 97 596 7 232
Passive Open Space 21 * 12 54 3 43 75 1 55
Prepared Ground 28 * 12 73 4 29 101 1 41
Recreation & Leisure Excluding Passive Open Space 111 2 78 75 4 65 186 2 143
Residential 129 2 197 240 14 337 369 4 534
Retailing 13 * 40 36 2 47 50 1 87
Storage 140 2 71 50 3 43 189 2 114
Transport 335 5 112 69 4 60 405 4 172
Utility Services 154 2 32 5 * 12 159 2 44
Wholesale Distribution 6 * 7 18 1 10 24 * 17
Other 116 2 68 44 3 44 160 2 112
Total of categorised sites 7,317 100 1,657 1,681 100 1,276 8,997 100 2,933
Unknown 244 Not Applicable 136 217 Not Applicable 238 461 Not Applicable 374
Total 7,561 Not Applicable 1,793 1,898 Not Applicable 1,514 9,459 Not Applicable 3,307

General notes - at sections 3 and 4 apply.

Specific note 20 - Glasgow conducted a partial survey in 2021 and some sites were recorded as re-used but no new sites were added due to difficulty with resource for the survey. Dundee City and West Lothian have not updated their survey since 2019 so no new data is available on new site in 2021. Details of survey return rates back to 2015 are shown at Annex D.

Specific note 24 - six authorities reported various impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on their survey return in 2021. More details are provided at sections 3 and 4. These impacts should be borne in mind when using and interpreting the figures for these authorities in the year 2021, when comparing the 2021 figure to other years and when interpreting the Scotland total for 2021.

11.3 In 2021 the previous use was unknown for 244 hectares (3%) of derelict land and 217 hectares (11%) of urban vacant land. Where previous use is known, 29% of derelict land had previously been used for mineral activity (2,094 hectares), 24% for manufacturing (1,724 hectares) and 14% for defence (1,057 hectares). For urban vacant land, where previous use is known, the largest areas had former manufacturing uses (16%, 262 hectares) or residential uses (14%, 240 hectares) (Table 13).

Table 14 - Sites in Settlements - date identified as derelict/urban vacant land, 1991-2021 [Note 20] [Note 23] [Note 24]
Pre-1991 1991-2000 2001-2010 2011-2015 2016-2020 2021 Unknown Area Total Area
Planning Authority Area Percentage Area Percentage Area Percentage Area Percentage Area Percentage Area Percentage
Aberdeen City 4 7 2 3 2 3 5 8 33 52 17 26 30 94
Aberdeenshire - - 4 13 7 23 4 13 16 51 - - 35 65
Angus 6 16 7 18 25 63 1 3 * 1 - - 66 105
Argyll and Bute 7 59 * 4 4 34 - - * 2 * 1 10 21
Clackmannanshire 3 21 - - 2 13 8 54 2 12 - - - 14
Dumfries and Galloway 28 6 2 * 11 2 6 1 443 90 - - 39 529
Dundee City 34 18 38 20 53 28 26 14 38 20 - - 3 191
East Ayrshire 37 55 10 14 16 23 2 3 3 4 1 1 25 93
East Dunbartonshire 20 58 8 24 1 2 5 14 * 1 - - 2 36
East Lothian 1 5 * 1 7 27 16 67 - - - - 6 30
East Renfrewshire 8 17 16 35 13 29 6 13 3 6 - - - 46
City of Edinburgh 11 12 19 19 42 44 8 8 16 16 - - 33 129
Falkirk 31 15 8 4 109 55 36 18 13 7 2 1 11 209
Fife 88 28 86 27 124 39 20 6 - - - - 7 325
Glasgow City 370 44 197 23 203 24 53 6 21 2 - - * 844
Highland 134 84 11 7 12 8 3 2 - - - - 10 170
Inverclyde 16 10 20 13 33 22 71 47 12 8 - - * 153
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park 1 38 - - 1 62 - - - - - - 1 3
Midlothian 35 50 19 27 3 4 2 3 11 15 2 3 - 71
Moray - - - - 8 60 5 35 1 5 - - - 14
Na h-Eileanan Siar - - - - - - - - - - - - 6 6
North Ayrshire 168 34 131 26 158 32 4 1 38 8 - - 4 502
North Lanarkshire 193 20 381 39 220 23 62 6 97 10 13 1 * 967
Orkney Islands - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Perth and Kinross 1 4 2 6 17 51 11 33 2 5 - - 3 37
Renfrewshire 30 25 24 20 58 49 3 3 3 2 - - - 118
Scottish Borders 3 32 1 10 1 16 3 37 * 4 * 1 30 39
Shetland Islands - - - - * 100 - - - - - - 1 1
South Ayrshire 35 52 15 21 12 17 * 1 6 9 - - 18 87
South Lanarkshire 63 39 8 5 37 23 29 18 22 14 1 1 48 208
Stirling - - 2 16 4 35 3 20 3 25 1 4 7 19
West Dunbartonshire 75 50 35 24 23 15 5 3 7 5 4 3 * 149
West Lothian 47 70 - - 14 21 5 7 1 1 - - 38 106
Scotland 1,448 29 1,047 21 1,221 25 402 8 789 16 40 1 433 5,381

General notes - at sections 3 and 4 apply.

Specific note 20 - Glasgow conducted a partial survey in 2021 and some sites were recorded as re-used but no new sites were added due to difficulty with resource for the survey. Dundee City and West Lothian have not updated their survey since 2019 so no new data is available on new site in 2021. Details of survey return rates back to 2015 are shown at Annex D.

Specific note 23 - For the 2020 survey eight authorities (Aberdeen City, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, Highland, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Ornkey Islands, West Dunbartonshire and West Lothian) were unable to complete a survey mainly due to COVID-19 Pandemic related restrictions but also staffing issues and results have been rolled over from 2019. These return rates should be borne in mind when using and interpreting the figures for these authorities in the year 2020, when interpreting the Scotland total in 2020 and when comparing the 2020 figures to other years.

Specific note 24 - six authorities reported various impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on their survey return in 2021. More details are provided at sections 3 and 4. These impacts should be borne in mind when using and interpreting the figures for these authorities in the year 2021, when comparing the 2021 figure to other years and when interpreting the Scotland total for 2021.

Table 15 - Sites in the countryside - date identified as derelict or urban vacant land, 1991-2021 [Note 20] [Note 23] [Note 24]
Pre-1991 1991-2000 2001-2010 2011-2015 2016-2020 2021 Unknown Area Total Area
Planning Authority Area Percentage Area Percentage Area Percentage Area Percentage Area Percentage Area Percentage
Aberdeen City - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Aberdeenshire 13 94 - - - - - - - - 1 6 * 14
Angus 179 87 2 1 18 9 7 4 - - - - 4 210
Argyll and Bute - - - - - - - - - - - - 28 28
Clackmannanshire - - - - - - 24 67 12 33 - - - 36
Dumfries and Galloway 223 100 - - * * - - - - - - 3 226
Dundee City - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
East Ayrshire 127 17 1 * - - 598 82 - - - - 50 776
East Dunbartonshire 9 41 * 2 - - 12 57 - - - - 21 41
East Lothian 11 21 16 31 24 48 - - - - - - 4 56
East Renfrewshire - - 2 100 - - - - - - - - - 2
City of Edinburgh - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 2
Falkirk 24 52 1 2 13 28 * 1 - - 8 17 1 48
Fife 129 35 84 23 120 32 2 * 38 10 - - 17 389
Glasgow City 23 65 13 35 - - - - - - - - - 36
Highland 134 30 15 3 304 67 - - - - - - 1 454
Inverclyde - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park - - - - 4 100 - - - - - - - 4
Midlothian 25 85 - - 2 8 1 2 1 2 1 3 1 30
Moray - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Na h-Eileanan Siar - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
North Ayrshire 19 3 33 5 635 92 - - - - - - - 687
North Lanarkshire 93 24 19 5 27 7 152 39 96 25 * * 1 388
Orkney Islands 32 100 - - - - - - - - - - - 32
Perth and Kinross 1 11 - - 6 55 3 29 1 5 - - 3 14
Renfrewshire - - 85 98 - - 2 2 - - - - - 87
Scottish Borders * 100 - - - - - - - - - - 5 5
Shetland Islands 3 100 - - - - - - - - - - 2 6
South Ayrshire 13 77 - - - - 4 21 1 3 - - 2 19
South Lanarkshire 78 65 9 7 33 28 - - - - - - 27 147
Stirling 100 98 2 2 * * - - - - - - 1 103
West Dunbartonshire - - - - - - - - * 100 - - - *
West Lothian 141 61 35 15 54 24 - - - - - - 6 237
Scotland 1,378 35 318 8 1,241 32 803 21 148 4 10 * 180 4,078

General notes - at sections 3 and 4 apply.

Specific note 20 - Glasgow conducted a partial survey in 2021 and some sites were recorded as re-used but no new sites were added due to difficulty with resource for the survey. Dundee City and West Lothian have not updated their survey since 2019 so no new data is available on new site in 2021. Details of survey return rates back to 2015 are shown at Annex D.

Specific note 23 - For the 2020 survey eight authorities (Aberdeen City, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, Highland, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Ornkey Islands, West Dunbartonshire and West Lothian) were unable to complete a survey mainly due to COVID-19 Pandemic related restrictions but also staffing issues and results have been rolled over from 2019. These return rates should be borne in mind when using and interpreting the figures for these authorities in the year 2020, when interpreting the Scotland total in 2020 and when comparing the 2020 figures to other years.

Specific note 24 - six authorities reported various impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on their survey return in 2021. More details are provided at sections 3 and 4. These impacts should be borne in mind when using and interpreting the figures for these authorities in the year 2021, when comparing the 2021 figure to other years and when interpreting the Scotland total for 2021.

11.4 Where the time a site has lain unused was known, 29% (1,448 hectares) of urban vacant or derelict land within settlements and 35% (1,378 hectares) within the countryside had been unused since before 1991 (Table 14 and Table 15). There is considerable variation at council level for how long land has been unused. Particular care should be taken when interpreting the data for 2020 as eight authorities were unable to complete a survey return mainly due to COVID-19 Pandemic related restrictions and results have been rolled over from 2019. This will affect the figures for each of these authorities, the Scotland total and any comparison with other years. More detailed information on this is presented in section 4 of the publication and in the notes accompanying tables, chart and annexes.

11.5 Development potential of derelict and urban vacant land is reported by Local Authorities, based on their expectation of when land is likely to be developed. Within Scotland, 18% of all derelict land with known development potential is estimated to be developable in the short term, as is 44% of urban vacant land with known development potential. The higher proportion of urban vacant land estimated to be developed in the short term is to be expected given derelict land by definition requires some form of rehabilitation before new development can commence. Overall, 24% of all derelict and urban vacant land within Scotland with known development potential has been estimated to be developable in the short term. Across Scotland, 17% of derelict land and 3% of urban vacant land is seen by local authorities as being uneconomic to develop and/or is viewed as suitable to reclaim for a ‘soft’ end use (i.e. non-built use) (Table 16).

Table 16 - Development potential of Derelict and Urban Vacant Land, 2021 [Note 20] [Note 24]
Derelict Land Urban Vacant Land total
Development Potential Area Percentage of Derelict Land Sites Area Percentage of Urban Vacant Land Sites Area Percentage of Total Land Sites
Developable - Short Term Within 5 Years 1,227 18 485 785 44 589 2,012 24 1,074
Developable - Medium Term 5 to 10 Years 2,218 33 448 696 39 537 2,914 34 985
Developable - Undetermined 2,130 32 518 260 14 269 2,390 28 787
Uneconomic to Develop/Reclamation for 'Soft' End Use 1,172 17 155 54 3 47 1,226 14 202
Total for sites with known development potential 6,746 100 1,606 1,796 100 1,442 8,542 100 3,048
Unknown 814 Not applicable 187 102 Not applicable 72 917 Not applicable 259
Total 7,561 Not applicable 1,793 1,898 Not applicable 1,514 9,459 Not applicable 3,307

General notes - at sections 3 and 4 apply.

Specific note 20 - Glasgow conducted a partial survey in 2021 and some sites were recorded as re-used but no new sites were added due to difficulty with resource for the survey. Dundee City and West Lothian have not updated their survey since 2019 so no new data is available on new site in 2021. Details of survey return rates back to 2015 are shown at Annex D.

Specific note 24 - six authorities reported various impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on their survey return in 2021. More details are provided at sections 3 and 4. These impacts should be borne in mind when using and interpreting the figures for these authorities in the year 2021, when comparing the 2021 figure to other years and when interpreting the Scotland total for 2021.

11.6 In 2021, a majority of all derelict and urban vacant land with known ownership had a single private owner, 66% (5,721 hectares) and 27% (2,336 hectares) of derelict and urban vacant land with known ownership had a single public owner. The remaining 7% is split with 5% (455 hectares) mixed public and private ownership, 1% (125 hectares) multiple private owners and 1% (65 hectares) multiple public owners. Of the 9,459 hectares of derelict and urban vacant land reported in 2021, 8% (756 hectares) has ownership unknown to the local authority (Table 17).

Table 17 - Ownership of Derelict and Urban Vacant Land, 2021 [Note 20] [Note 24]
Ownership Area Percentage of Derelict Land Sites Area Percentage of Urban Vacant Land Sites Area Percentage of Total Land Sites
Single Owner: Public 1,587 23 376 750 43 664 2,336 27 1,040
Single Owner: Private 4,953 71 1,024 769 44 610 5,721 66 1,634
Multiple Owners: Public 35 1 18 30 2 19 65 1 37
Multiple Owners: Private 95 1 30 30 2 17 125 1 47
Mixed Owners 303 4 78 152 9 52 455 5 130
Total where ownership known 6,973 100 1,526 1,730 100 1,362 8,703 100 2,888
Single Owner: Unknown 588 Not applicable 267 168 Not applicable 152 756 Not applicable 419
Total 7,561 Not applicable 1,793 1,898 Not applicable 1,514 9,459 Not applicable 3,307

General notes - at sections 3 and 4 apply.

Specific note 20 - Glasgow conducted a partial survey in 2021 and some sites were recorded as re-used but no new sites were added due to difficulty with resource for the survey. Dundee City and West Lothian have not updated their survey since 2019 so no new data is available on new site in 2021. Details of survey return rates back to 2015 are shown at Annex D.

Specific note 24 - six authorities reported various impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on their survey return in 2021. More details are provided at sections 3 and 4. These impacts should be borne in mind when using and interpreting the figures for these authorities in the year 2021, when comparing the 2021 figure to other years and when interpreting the Scotland total for 2021.

Contact

Email: planstats@gov.uk

Back to top